Difficult-to-reuse needles for the prevention of HIV infection among injecting drug users

Office of Technology Assessment
Record ID 31995000081
Authors' objectives:

To analyze the potential of "single use" or "difficult-to- reuse" injection equipment to reduce the spread of HIV among injecting drug users.

Authors' results and conclusions: The use of either single-use, self-destructing, non-reusable, or auto-destruct injection equipment has received some attention as a possible means for reducing HIV transmission among injecting drug users. However, OTA's analysis indicates that there is no syringe yet designed and feasible to manufacture that could not be defeated by someone seeking to reuse it. Distributing enough syringes to prevent the establishment of a black market for injection equipment that can be easily reused presents significant logistical and ethical dilemmas. In addition, evidence indicated that many of the proposed redesigns would interfere with usual drug- taking practices, making them unacceptable to many users. Redesigned syringes would also likely cost more than current syringes and could significantly add to medical waste problems. Some injecting drug users have, however, indicated a willingness to use redesigned injection equipment.
Authors' recommendations: The analyses in this paper indicate that redesigning injection equipment is unlikely to reduce the spread of HIV and may have other intended consequences. However, targeted distribution could be used to identify those situations in which: (1) injecting drug users would be least likely to try to defeat difficult-to-reuse equipment; (2) the cost, supply, and safe disposal problems would be manageable; and (3) use of difficult-to-reuse equipment would have the greatest impact on reducing HIV transmission among injecting drug users.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 1992
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: United States
MeSH Terms
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • HIV
  • HIV Infections
  • Needles
  • Substance-Related Disorders
Organisation Name: U. S. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment
Copyright: Office of Technology Assessment
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.